The new German powerhouse

The cars from the Volkswagen Group have taken the automotive scene in Malaysia by storm. Less than a decade ago, the German luxury market was dominated by BMW and Mercedes-Benz but thanks to their rapid product development, clever shared components and aggressive marketing, models from Audi and Volkswagen are beginning to find favour in the market place.

The new German powerhouse

While both brands are part of the Volkswagen Group of companies they attract buyers from different segments of the market. Audi is aimed primarily at the luxury market and its cars are pitched directly against those from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Volkswagen on the other hand is the brand that created ‘mass-premium’ and though it goes against more mainstream offerings from Ford, Peugeot, Toyota and Honda, the VW badge is perceived as one that is a symbol of solid build quality and German engineering.

 

For 2013, Audi has enjoyed a fantastic start to the year with long waiting lists for many of its cars in Malaysia. The highlight for them has been the Audi A6 Hybrid, which sold its allotment of cars in record time due to its combination of prestige, performance, fuel savings and price, which took advantage of the tax-free incentives offered by the government for Hybrid cars with engine capacities below 2-litres.

 

The other models that continue to attract interest are the Q5 and the Q3, with the former being a particular favourite with Audi used car importers. Q5 values remain amazingly strong despite the model having been available for a few years already and with a new facelift version having just reached our shores, the used values of these classy SUVs will continue to be strong for years to come.

 

Audi has also successfully ventured into the supercar scene and the Audi R8 has a reputation for being one of the easiest to drive supercars you can buy. That doesn’t mean it lacks glamour as the movie tie-up with the Iron Man franchise and continued success in GT racing means the R8 is one of the most glamorous and recognisable supercars not to wear an Italian badge. Early examples are now available from just RM400,000 so this is now an affordable slice of supercar heaven.

 

Volkswagen has grown aggressively in Malaysia over the last few years, with VW Malaysia aggressively launching new cars every year and running their DAS Auto showcase to give car buyers the full Volkswagen experience. Sales have grown at record pace every year and with it, Volkswagen has pursued market share by embarking on a local assembly programme. The Volkswagen Passat is built in Malaysia and will soon be joined by the Volkswagen Polo Sedan.

 

The star of the VW range though is undoubtedly the Volkswagen Golf as the best family hatchback in the world enjoys the same success here as it does in Europe. The Mk7 version was launched earlier this year and with a price that is unchanged over its predecessor, you can expect more rave reviews from customers and the media alike.

 

With a combination of high-tech (DSG ‘boxes, TSI engines), stylish looks and build quality, Volkswagens extensive model range has also attracted the interest of used car importers. Though the margins are relatively smaller (due to the aggressive pricing strategy of VW Malaysia) these car importers are almost assured of a ready market and a steady stream of repeat custom for their Volkswagen cars.

 

Like it’s sister-brand, Volkswagen too has a range of performance oriented models. Their halo car is the Volkswagen GTI, which has a sky-high image and very strong used values. The Volkswagen Scirocco GT is a performance coupé with looks to match and for ultimate speed, Volkswagen has now introduced its R models.

 

Whichever way you look at it, both the Volkswagen and Audi brands are on their way up in terms of popularity and acceptance in Malaysia. Good to look at, loaded with modern technology and with impeccable build quality, they are cars for those who have grown tired of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz hegemony. If you have ever wanted one of these cars, then the time to look for one is now! -Referred from Faisal Shah